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May 1, 2018 Vol. 73 No. 8 Back to Bulletin Main Page

András Jókúti, Hungarian Intellectual Property Office: Elevating the Global Dialogue on IP Rights

András Jókúti is Acting Director-General for Legal Affairs at the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. He obtained his LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law at The George Washington University
Law School (Washington, DC) on a Fulbright grant. Outside of his passion for IP law, he is an accomplished photographer; he has had several exhibitions and his work has been used on book covers and in magazines in Hungary and abroad.

“There is no aspect of intellectual property (IP) law that I haven't been in touch with in the course of my 15 years in the public administration,” says András Jókúti, Acting Director-General for Legal Affairs at the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO). From the overhaul of the European Union trademark system to copyright in the Digital Single Market and substantive patent law harmonization, Mr. Jókúti is well versed in all aspects of IP law and policy. This also makes him particularly suited to help organize and host INTA’s IP Office Workshop, “Working Towards the 21st Century IP Office” at the 2018 Annual Meeting, where he will be moderating a closed-door session titled “New Marks on the Block: Experience and Challenges with New Types of Trademarks.”      

Mr. Jókúti spoke with the INTA Bulletin about some of HIPO’s current priorities and what he hopes to
accomplish at the Annual Meeting.

What are HIPO’s top priorities in 2018?
Our major goal is to reinstate IP to its rightful place in the economy—not just for the traditional players, but also for entities that have not been aware of the significance of this toolbox. This requires a shift in the definition of the Office's mission; beyond our traditional profile as a registration office with a strong vision in policy making, we need to step up as an innovation facilitator as well. Such a role change necessitates massive awareness-raising efforts and a change in communication strategy, modernizing the IT tools on both the front and the back ends, streamlining the registration procedures, and reviewing certain elements of the legal framework.

What are the major challenges the Office is facing, and how are you tackling them?
We are in the middle of implementing the EU trademark reform—it is a complex and beautiful task.The EUIPO is already applying the new rules, but EU Member States need to align their trademark laws to the provisions of the recast Directive by January 2019. Preparing legislative changes is always a great challenge, with multiple ramifications.The draft amendment to the Trademark Act is ready, and now the consultation phase is coming up. Along with the overhaul of the formal requirements and the Examination Guidelines there will have to be a restructuring of the application fees and preparation of the IT system to handle new types of marks.

Another one of our great legislative endeavors is the creation of a general intellectual property procedural code that could serve as the background statute for all the administrative proceedings before HIPO.

You’re helping to organize the IP Office Workshop at the Annual Meeting, which features a number of “closed-door sessions”—what is the benefit of such an approach, what topics will you discuss there, and what can registrants expect to take away?
It is a great honor for HIPO to be one of the hosts of the IP Office Workshop, along with colleagues from the Canadian and the Mexican IP offices. Each organizer is going to conduct a panel discussion on a selected topic: there will be sessions on deceptive trademarks, marks as part of an innovation strategy, and new types of trademarks.

HIPO will moderate the latter (emergence of nontraditional marks), with distinguished speakers from the Danish and Australian offices as well as from the World Intellectual Property Organization. The questions that this fascinating topic raises promise a lively debate.

The term "closed-door session" connotes something clandestine, but the discussions will be nothing of the sort! The talks are designed to allow IP Office representatives to discuss challenges regarding current trademark matters among themselves and to share their experience, common concerns, and best practices under the Chatham House Rules [a system by which attendees are free to use the information discussed but must keep participants’’ identities anonymous]. It is relatively rare that office representatives from all around the world have the chance to dedicate an entire day to having in-depth yet informal discussions on topics of common interest without any official positions or political implications present.

Are you planning to attend other sessions or events at the Annual Meeting? 
When you travel to Seattle for a prestigious event like the INTA Annual Meeting, you surely don't want to confine yourself to the strict purpose of your visit! I will attend three sessions on Saturday (on fair use, mediation, and design clearance); the Trademark Office Practices Committee's European National Trademark Offices Subcommittee meeting on Monday; and of course several of the vibrant social events that give the INTA Annual Meeting its true flavor.

What is the main benefit of INTA’s Annual Meeting for IP Office officials?
A break from the usual "administrative bubble" is always refreshing. Meeting our customers, hearing their views in an informal setting at a major event gathering professionals from around the world, all sharing a passion for intellectual property—that is something not to miss. Even more importantly, we would like to convey the message that IP Office officials are not gray bureaucrats with no connection to the "real world": we are approachable, we understand the needs of the market, and we are working hard on cutting red tape.

HIPO Trademark Statistics 2017 2017
International trademark applications (under the Madrid system)    1,702
European Union Trade Mark applications 146,262
Trademark applications of domestic origin     3,770
Trademark applications of foreign origin        371
Total number of applications filed via the national route     4,141
Number of Trademarks in Force in Hungary 2017
National trademarks      55,056
International (Madrid system) trademarks      90,730
European Union Trade Marks 1, 443,000*

*As of November 30, 2017.

Register for the INTA Annual Meeting here.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

© 2018 International Trademark Association